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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Gigi Gryce, Part 1: Social Call

Gryce was a comrade and equal to some of the greatest names in jazz in the 1950s.

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Gigi Gryce biography

Photo: Book cover art

Jazz mystery: Michael Fitzgerald and Noal Cohen's book sheds light on the life and music of Gryce, who vanished from the music scene in the early 1960s.

Alto saxophonist, composer, and arranger Gigi Gryce is best remembered today for jazz standards such as “Minority” and “Nica’s Tempo,” but he made other important contributions that included pioneering self-publishing for musicians. In this, the first of a two-part program, we’ll hear some of Gryce’s early music, recorded with artists such as Howard McGhee and Clifford Brown, and talk with Gryce co-biographer Mike Fitzgerald (Rat Race Blues) about the musician’s personal and professional coming-of-age experiences.

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Social Call
Donald Byrd/Gigi Gryce — Jazz Lab/Modern Jazz Perspective (Collectables, 1957)

Notes: Gigi Gryce composition.

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Conception
Clifford Brown — Comp. Paris Sessions V. 1 (BMG/Vogue, 1953)

Notes: Music bed for biographical intro. Gryce composition

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Shabozz
Howard McGhee — Howard McGhee V. 2 (Blue Note, 1953)

Notes: Gigi Gryce composition, with Gryce on alto sax.

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Hymn to the Orient
Clifford Brown — Clifford Brown Memorial (Blue Note, 1953)

Notes: Gryce composition, with Gryce on alto sax.

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Brownskins
Clifford Brown — Comp. Paris Sessions V. 1 (BMG/Vogue, 1953)

Notes: Gryce composition, recorded in Paris; Gryce leading orchestra of Hampton band and French musicians.

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Hello
Gigi Gryce — Lucky Thompson/Gigi Gryce in Paris (Disques Vogue, 1953)

Notes: Midpoint music bed.

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Salute to the Bandbox
Art Blakey — Blakey (EmArcy, 1954)

Notes: Gryce composition, aka "Salute to Birdland." Gryce on alto sax.

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The Infant's Song
Art Farmer/Gigi Gryce — When Farmer Met Gryce (Prestige/OJC, 1955)

Notes: Gryce composition.

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In a Meditating Mood
Gigi Gryce — Nica's Tempo (Savoy, 1955)

Notes: Gryce composition.

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Epistrophy (excerpt)
Thelonious Monk — Monk's Music (Riverside, 1957)

Notes: Solos: John Coltrane ts, Ray Copeland trumpet, Gigi Gryce alto sax

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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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